Were you expecting a Christmas present from Walt Disney and the frozen North this year? Well get ready, because that is exactly what is under the tree. Disney’s Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short Empty Socks– long considered a lost film- was recently found in a library almost at the Arctic circle. The short, released just over 85 years ago, was the first Disney “Christmas” themed short and featured Oswald plays Santa for a group of orphans. It was a silent cartoon. Prior to this discovery, the only extant copy of Empty Socks was a 25-second sequence preserved at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Walt Disney directed the short, which was first released December 12, 1927. It was Animated By Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman, Les Clark, Isadore Freleng, Ben Clopton, Norm Blackburn and Rollin “Ham” Hamilton.
The almost complete original film was found during an inventory of Norway’s National Library at the library’s facility in Mo i Rana. “The film was in two reels which weren’t clearly labelled,” said Kvale Soerenssen, an archivist at the library. “At the beginning, we didn’t know it was a lost cinematographic treasure.”
The original short ran about 5:30. The newly discovered short has about 30 seconds missing from the middle of the short. The specimen belonged to a private individual, before ending up in the collection of the Norwegian Film Institute, which handed over its archive to the National Library of Norway. The library stores most of it’s documents in a high-security bunker in Mo i Rana.